Strapa band for Apple Watch puts fine Italian leather on your wrist [Review]

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Strapa band for Apple Watch
A leather band that doesn't disappoint.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

If you want a leather Apple Watch band that feels great, looks spectacular, and is built to last you years, you should really do yourself a favor and check out the wonderful Ingenium band from Strapa.

It’s made using leather sourced from one of the finest tanneries in Italy, plus 316L surgery-grade stainless steel buckles and adapters. I’ve been using one for months now, and I highly recommend it.

7 stellar Apple Watch charging stands for under $30

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AW-charging-stands
Give your Apple Watch a great place to rest.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Your beloved Apple Watch deserves more than to be slapped on top of its included charging cable every night. Treat yours to an actual charging stand without breaking the bank and give it a better place to rest.

Here are seven stellar options, handpicked by Cult of Mac, for $30 or less.

Apple News Today is an Apple News+ promo disguised as a peppy news podcast [Review]

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Apple News Today review: A daily news podcast with zero partisan rage.
Apple News Today is a news podcast with zero partisan rage.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Apple News Today, the breezy new podcast showcasing the day’s top news stories, sounds perfectly peppy and polished. Maybe too perfectly polished, in fact — you won’t find a single rough edge on this slickly produced daily news report, which Apple unleashed last week with iOS 13.6. You will endure no energized, partisan rants, either. These straight-down-the-middle reports won’t get your blood boiling while you make your morning coffee or tea. If you’re tired of partisanship, this is the antidote.

What you will find in the weekday audio show is steady promotion of the Apple News app, and of Apple News+, the company’s reportedly struggling subscription news service. This upbeat and earnest free daily news briefing basically functions as a Trojan horse for getting in the ears of potential Apple News+ subscribers.

iOS 13 eats away at battery life, but iOS 14 offers hope

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iOS 13 battery life eroded. But iOS 14 offers better.
Reversing a trend, iOS 14 battery life could be noticeably longer than iOS 13.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Tests done on a range of iPhone models running the just-released iOS 13.6 reveal that it slightly reduces the battery life of all these handsets when compared to the previous version. And, generally speaking, that has held true for the last six iOS 13 updates.

But there’s good news. Tests with an early iOS 14 beta showed this upcoming version brings a significant increase to battery life.

Innovative Apple Watch band lets runners monitor speed and heart rate at a glance [Review]

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EdgeGear Shift review: Seeing your Apple Watch while jogging is far easier with this Apple Watch band for runners.
Seeing your Apple Watch while running is far easier with the EdgeGear Shift.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The design of the wristwatch hasn’t changed on over 100 years, but EdgeGear has an alternative that makes it easier for runners to see their Apple Watch while on the go. The Shift is not like any band you’ve worn before, as the Watch is held near the base of your thumb, not in the middle of your wrist.

I took the EdgeGear Shift on a few runs, and can report on how it performed in the real world.

Greatness Code proves Apple TV+ is in the relationship business [Apple TV+ review]

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Greatness Code
What is the code for greatness? No one in the documentary series Greatness Code is going to tell you.
Photo: Apple TV+

There’s a reason this review only has one image in it: Apple TV+ doesn’t have any more press pictures for this show. Why? Because why should it? This paper-thin passel of hagiographies isn’t worth promoting.

Greatness Code, which debuts July 10, isn’t a show so much as it’s an investment in the big star athletes being interviewed. To say no to the project would have meant scuttling potential relationships with some of the biggest names in sports. But to admit it’s worth your time seems a bridge too far.

This $27 tool helped me ID the Ethernet cables in my wall [Under Review]

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Elegiant Wire Tracker: This $27 tool will quickly identify Ethernet cables buried in your wall.
If you can't tell which Ethernet cable goes where, this inexpensive tool can help.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Under Review on The CultCast The Elegiant Wire Tracker looks unassuming, but it helped me solve a frustrating problem: identifying the Ethernet cables buried behind the walls of my house. The inexpensive kit consists of a little plastic probe about the size of a Polish sausage and an emitter about the size of an iPhone (only it’s an inch or so thick).

It’s made of blue plastic, so it doesn’t pack that heavyweight “pro” feel, but it seems fairly durable. And if you need to figure out which Ethernet cable goes where, it gets the job done.